Mo Wax: Money Mark; Djs James Lavelle, Shadow, Charlie and a cavalcade of stars … Planet, January 6, 1996

For a grunge puppy like myself it is hard to admit that I may be somewhat ‘crossing over’ these days, but with the Mo’Wax Headz in town it seemed to be the right time to come out, just a little …

Planet was bubbling both downstairs and up, the all-ages frenzy in the basement supplying scenes of manic hero worship as outside, after the gig, kids tried scrambing into the windows of tour buses loaded with Summersault superstars who squiggled on fans’ t-shirts, all to an impromptu busk on the sidewalk from Money Mark.

“I heard you guys are not allowed upstairs, that really sucks, so I’ll play to you for free”, said Mark, fiddling with the distortion and beats from his mini, homemade ghetto blaster thing. Crowded around him, the Perth under-aged mingled with a huge international media entourage who were dressed more like rock pigs than the unobtrusive, omnipresent members of Pavement, Foo Fighters and The Amps themselves. Consequently, the outrageously garbed photographers probably signed more autographs.

A drive-by water pistol shooting by the Beastie Boys on skateboards added to the surreal mayhem, Mark tapping away on a dated old Casio making one hell of a strange noise. Charles Street will never be dull again.

After some downstairs gawking and air, Planet’s dance party was in full, furious swing. Blending all schools of hip hop, mixing it with B-Boys, Eric B and Rakim staples, the crowd grinned and bounced to the cosiest, lovin’ atmosphere I’ve ever seen under such circumstances.

Which brings me to the crowd. From metal heads to indie girls, dance bunnies to moustachioed jazz freaks, the uptempo bass-driven jive propelled legs upwards and outwards, fuelled by the multi-schooled beats from hip-hop’s past, present and future. On stage, the wheels were watched from the shadows by local DJs as Charlie, Shadow and Lavelle rifled through crates of vinyl for that subtle sample or drum loop. Then up strolled Money Mark from the dance floor, his aforementioned sound machine bleeping out its cheap, silly beats and a mic halfway in his mouth.

I think most people would say that they didn’t enjoy Mark but I reckon they just missed the gag. “Y’see, I just picked up my bedroom and brought it here”, said Mark of the stage accessories – Buddha statues, lava lamps, a drum kit and countless wires and gizmos. “I don’t even have a bed”, he said climbing on to one of his keyboards.

“I get up in the mornin’, have a cappuccino and then my friends come over for a jam”, he added as a Beastie Boy walked up and started drumming. Mixing 2-3 minute bursts of simple impromptu jazz ditties with his theatrical displays of $4 musical trinkets he makes at home, Mark went through a day in the life of a slacker music man, little stories punctuated with songs like Cry (which he also did with the Beasties at Summersault) and Sometimes You Gotta Make It Alone.

However, the majority of the crowd suddenly and embarrassingly got really shirty about the lack of dance beats and put a chill in the room, their minute attention spans and disregard for alternative performance being a definite blight on the proceedings. Mark’s cabaret muse and theatrics were certainly flippant, but they were equally jolly, funny and reminded the people who paid attention that homegrown music can be part of everything and everyone.

Anyway, Mark left the stage to be filled with the DJ aura once more. People danced as the beats moved towards jungle, Kim Deal played pool and Dave Grohl bumped my elbow. Ahh, I’m still wearing those same socks.

Adam Connors